Thursday, February 25, 2021

Arthur Kayzakian: Ararat

After Layli Long Soldier & Czeslaw Milosz

my brothers and sisters call me ara which means friend. 
which is also a name. which can be short for ararat

the mountain behind an imaginary line in another country. 
It used to be in the backyard of our home. in a way 

it represents betrayal. in a way it looks like fog in the sky. 
a god with untouchable snow peaks. a long-time friend. 

Like arak or the vodka aragh. meaning we drink and drink 
until the empty bottle rolls off the table. and when it rolls 

the sound of its rumble resembles the growl of a dog. 
the police say we are bad. when punched in the mouth

blood runs down the lip like ice turned water. 
we wipe the chin. our boys learn to place their pain

in a grave. my heart feels like charcoal is what my cousin 
said. his bloody lip trembled. chest out like an elevated rock. 

let it out i said. he wept until the water moistened the caves 
around his eyes. the police say we are bad. but we are just

on bad land. I threw my arm around his shoulder. it’s okay. 
we’re here now. i say it because his lip was on fire. because he is 

my ara. because the police say we are bad. 
the stolen lunch tickets. the bully beat downs. 

the way we crossed the endless borderlands of death.
because we have tried to be boys for an entire generation 

after the loss of our mountain. 

Published in Prairie Schooner Volume 94 | Spring 2020

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